A Learning Alberta by ASEC


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									                A LEARNING ALBERTA
       D i a l o g u e    a n d     D i r e c t i o n

      A Learning Alberta: Framing the Challenge

               September – November 2005

                                              Advanced Education
A Learning Alberta
Steering Committee


Cindy Ady, MLA for Calgary-Shaw, Chair of the Calgary Caucus and Southern Alberta Cabinet Liaison.

Ray Danyluk, MLA for Lac La Biche-St. Paul, Chair of the Northern Alberta Development Council,
Member of the Standing Policy Committee on Agriculture and Municipal Affairs.

Doug Griffiths, MLA for Wainwright, Member of the Agenda and Priorities Committee.


Mr. Russell Carr (co-chair) – Carr Leiren and Associates.

Mr. Phil Gougeon (co-chair) – Assistant Deputy Minister of Adult Learning, Advanced Education.


Mr. Randy Boissonnault – Past Chair of the Centre for Family Literacy and a Consulting Principal,
Conroy Ross Partners Ltd.

Mrs. Shirley Dul – Assistant Deputy Minister of Apprenticeship and Industry Training,
Advanced Education.

Mr. Elmer Ghostkeeper – Member, Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement of Alberta, and President,
Ghostkeeper Global Ltd.

Mr. Jim Gurnett – Executive Director, Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers.

Ms. Sharon Matthias – President, Matthias Inc.

Mr. Noel McGarry – CEO of Persons with Developmental Disabilities, Southern Alberta Board.

Mr. Eric Newell – Chancellor, University of Alberta.

Dr. Frits Pannekoek – President, Athabasca University.

Ms. Alexis Pepin – Past President of the University of Alberta Graduate Students Association.

Mr. Dave Tuccaro – President, Tuccaro Inc.

Mr. Dan Vandermeulen – President, Northern Lakes College.

Dr. Harvey Weingarten – President, University of Calgary.


        Introduction.................................................................................................... 2
        The First Step – A Window of Opportunity..................................................... 2
        The Next Step – Creating a Policy Framework for A Learning Alberta .......... 3
        Discussion Papers......................................................................................... 5
        Minister’s Forum............................................................................................ 5

THE KEY TO ALBERTA’S FUTURE........................................................................... 6


        Vision ............................................................................................................8
        Mission ..........................................................................................................8
        Alberta’s Policy Challenges ............................................................................9
        Policy Principles ............................................................................................10
        Policy Foundations ........................................................................................11
        Policy Outcomes ..........................................................................................14

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS ......................................................................................15

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             On becoming Minister of Advanced Education, the Honourable Dave Hancock took
             immediate steps to involve a full range of learning stakeholders in setting new directions
             for advanced education in Alberta.

             This action reflected the Government of Alberta’s recognition that advanced education
             and knowledge use are the foundations of our province’s future. This is also recognized
             in the Government’s 20-Year Strategy, Today’s Opportunities, Tomorrow’s Promise; the
             Value-Added Strategy, Sustaining Tomorrow’s Prosperity; the Rural Development Strategy,
             A Place to Grow; and the Skills Investment Strategy.

             The First Step - A Window of Opportunity

             Minister Hancock held a series of Stakeholder Roundtables in January and February
             2005, which asked institutional leaders, community-based educators, literacy groups,
             Aboriginal community leaders, business, industry and apprenticeship and industry training
             stakeholders, Alberta’s educational consortia and others to present their views on where
             advanced education in Alberta should be 20 years from now. The Minister also asked what
             steps would be necessary to get there in the next three to five years and what immediate
             issues must be dealt with to place Alberta on the right path.

             The report from these Roundtables, A Window of Opportunity www.alearningalberta.gov.ab.ca
             helped to frame Bill 1, the Access to the Future Act, and identified the need for a forward-
             looking and durable policy framework to guide advanced education in the years ahead.

             Roundtable Stakeholders said:

                          • First and foremost Alberta needs a strategic vision for advanced education.

                          • We must grasp the opportunity to create a system for advanced education in
                            Alberta that will lead the world in the 21st century.

                          • More investment is required, but far more than dollars is needed. Alberta must
                            design an integrated “advanced learning system” that fits the emerging character
                            and needs of this dynamic century.

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       • The advanced learning system in Alberta must have leadership and a capacity for
         foresight, vision, inspiration and encouragement. This system must service the
         whole person, community, and society.

       • We must acknowledge the tremendous benefits of advanced learning, not just for
         the economy, but for the tangible improvements it brings to the lives of Albertans.

       • Funding for education must be seen as an investment, not only as an expenditure.

∑      • Tomorrow’s advanced learning system must recognize the diverse character,
         needs and ambitions of Albertans.

∑      • It must support the resources available in communities and regions as well as in
         urban centres.

∑      • The power of new technologies must be harnessed to achieve the best learning
         system possible.

The Next Step - Creating a Policy Framework for A Learning Alberta

In June 2005, the Minister established a Steering Committee to lead a comprehensive
review of the province’s advanced learning system called A Learning Alberta: Framing
the Challenge. This committee was asked to look at best practices, current research,
and input from Albertans in order to set a vision and new ideas for advanced education in
the province – a vision that recognizes both institutional and community-based learning
The Steering Committee is leading a discussion process this fall which is reviewing,
discussing and influencing the key components of a proposed policy framework for
A Learning Alberta. This process will conclude with a Minister’s Forum on November
1 and 2, 2005 in Edmonton.

The A Learning Alberta discussions provide several channels for input, including:

       On-Line Access: Albertans are invited to give their views and responses
       at www.alearningalberta.gov.ab.ca.

       MLA Consultations: MLAs are encouraged to hold local discussions in their

       Regional Discussions: Five regional discussion groups with a cross section of
       stakeholders will be held in Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Edmonton, Calgary,
       and Lethbridge during September and October.

       Dialogues with Aboriginal Communities: Discussions with
       leaders representing the diversity of Aboriginal communities
       will be held in Calgary and Edmonton.

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                                                A Learning Alberta
                                        POLICY FRAMEWORK PROCESS 2005

         (January/February)               (May/August)           (September/October)      (November 1 & 2)       (December)             (Ongoing)
        Window of Opportunity           Steering Committee        Engagement Process       Minister’s Forum   Report to Government   Strategy Planning
          Advanced Education           Draft Vision and Policy     Web-based Dialogue                                                with Stakeholders
       Stakeholders Consultation             Framework

                                              Discussion                MLA
                                              Documents              Discussions



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These opportunities for discussion will enable Albertans to help shape the directions and
ideas of the A Learning Alberta Policy Framework. Key themes from all of these channels
of discussion will be reported to the Minister’s Forum.

Discussion Papers

The Steering Committee’s work has also produced a series of discussion papers that are
being used as background for the policy framework development. These seven A Learning
Alberta papers focus on:

       •   Investing in Alberta’s Advanced Education System
       •   Ensuring Affordability in Alberta’s Advanced Education System
       •   Advanced Education in Rural Alberta: Challenges and Opportunities
       •   Increasing Accessibility to Advanced Education for Under-Represented Albertans
       •   Fostering Innovation in Alberta
       •   Quality in Alberta’s Advanced Education System
       •   Shaping the Future Direction of the Advanced Education System

These papers are available at www.alearningalberta.gov.ab.ca

Minister’s Forum – November 1 and 2

A Minister’s Forum will invite input on the policy framework from all areas of the advanced
education sector, including faculty, students groups, community learning resources, literacy
groups, Aboriginal and immigrant groups, business, industry, apprenticeship and industry
training stakeholders, and many others.

The end product will provide recommendations to the Minister on a vision for Alberta’s
advanced education system in the 21st century, supported by A Learning Alberta Policy
Framework. Innovative ideas on how best to make that vision a reality will be encouraged
throughout the process.

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             The Key to Alberta’s Future
             - A Knowledge-Based Economy

             As Alberta celebrates its centennial, the attention of its people is divided. On the one hand,
             Albertans are peering into history, appreciating the struggles of the province’s pioneers,
             noting their achievements and honouring their legacy. On the other hand, Albertans are
             imagining the province’s future, anticipating the promise of an even better tomorrow.

             Alberta entered its first century primarily rural. Now it enters its second century
             predominantly urban. A society whose origins in 1905 were largely Aboriginal or European
             is now globally diverse. And perhaps most significantly, a territory which was once an
             isolated frontier finds itself at the centre of a new geo-political context where it must attract
             capital from around the world, compete globally and acknowledge and respond to global
             economic shifts, such as the rise of the growing Asian economies.

             Alberta faces unique opportunities and risks and must be ready to respond:

                          • The Province is a secure source of energy supply in an increasingly unstable
                            world, with significant reserves of oil, clean coal and natural gas. Alberta’s
                            traditional commodity sectors are mature and technologically sophisticated,
                            however commodity prices are highly cyclical and the majority of our energy
                            resources are non-renewable.
                          • Alberta must sustain a globally competitive economy for the future - one that adds
                            value across both its traditional resource sectors and new and emerging sectors
                            such as bio-technology, environmental and information technologies and value-
                            added manufacturing.
                          • Alberta leads the country in growth and prosperity, but with that growth comes
                            challenges, including:
                                  • Attracting, retaining and developing the human capital needed to sustain
                                  • Providing the social and physical infrastructure needed to support growth.
                                  • Creating opportunities for underrepresented groups to share in and
                                    contribute to the province’s prosperity.
                                  • Taking advantage of our province’s rural strengths and opportunities.
                                  • Ensuring the environment is protected under the pressures of growth.
                                  • Developing the right strategies and policies to ensure a secure and
                                    prosperous future.

             In making advanced education a top priority of his government, Premier Klein has said
             that merely being good is not enough for Albertans. We must develop a great system of
             advanced learning in order for the province and its people to meet their full potential.

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Advanced Education Minister Dave Hancock is conducting this policy framework on the
basis of a number of underlying beliefs:

       • Albertans can choose their future.
       • Alberta must develop, attract and retain people who have the skills required by a
         knowledge-based economy.
       • There must be a place for every Albertan who wants to advance his or her
       • Albertans should be inspired to take advantage of the opportunity to
         improve themselves and their lives.
       • A learning culture includes more than traditional learning institutions and
         systems. It includes learners, their families and communities, and a range of local
         and provincial learning partners, both public and private.
       • Alberta can develop a learning society that is on the leading edge of advanced
         learning anywhere in the world – and do it in a way that makes sure it is
         affordable and accessible.

The importance of advanced education to the creation of a healthy, prosperous and
progressive society cannot be overstated. It is essential to Alberta’s economic prospects,
to its social wellbeing and to the quality of the lives of every Albertan.

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              The Policy Framework outlined below presents four key elements for discussion with

                           •   A Vision and Mission for A Learning Alberta.
                           •   Key policy challenges that must be addressed to achieve this vision.
                           •   Core policy principles that will drive direction and decisions.
                           •   The foundations, or platforms, that will guide policy directions in the years ahead.

                                               A Policy Framework for A Learning Alberta

                           Vision             Policy Challenges   Policy Principles     Policy Foundations
                           Mission                                Accessible            Learner-Centred
                                                                  Affordable            Community-Based
                                                                  Quality               Innovation/Excellence


                           A Learning Alberta:
                           Alberta is a province where all citizens have access to higher learning
                           opportunities and where they are inspired to reach their full potential. Alberta
                           aggressively seizes its future opportunities by leveraging the diverse skills, talents
                           and imaginations of its citizens.
                           Most of all, Alberta is a true learning province, a place where advanced education
                           and lifelong learning are cornerstones of a healthy, prosperous and progressive


                           To develop a learning partnership in Alberta between society and the individual in
                           which there is shared responsibility and benefits together with shared investment
                           and knowledge.

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Alberta’s Policy Challenges:

When Alberta entered the “oil boom” of the mid-1970s, the response of government was
to provide a wide range of public programs and services. By the 1990s, however, it had
become obvious that government alone cannot meet the growing needs of Albertans on a
sustainable basis. To achieve sustainability, the role of government needed to become
more complementary – to support and strengthen (not replace) the roles of individuals,
families, communities, markets and businesses in our society.

Today, there are unique challenges and opportunities facing public policy makers in
Alberta. Shifts in policy priorities have occurred over the last decade in Alberta and they
continue to evolve. The A Learning Alberta Policy Framework will reflect a number of the
emerging policy shifts, including:

       • A greater integration of economic and social policy. Traditionally, Alberta has
         looked at these sectors quite distinctly.

       • Recognition in key strategies that learning and education are fundamental sources
         of well-being and opportunity for citizens. In the past, policy in Alberta has
         focused primarily on income and employment opportunities.

       • A rethinking of education spending - as a critical investment in the future rather
         than an immediate expenditure.

       • The recognition that the capacity of communities can be extended significantly
         when government, business and communities work together for a shared social

       • A shift in emphasis from management accountability (a focus by the
         administration on efficiency and economy) to an emphasis on policy accountability
         (a focus by the leadership on effectiveness and equity).

       • Refocusing and tracking outcomes of policy, programs and expenditure rather
         than measuring inputs and outputs.

       • Breaking down the “silos” among sectors, industries, providers and government
         departments. Integrating policies, planning and programs across areas of

       • Putting the experiences of the people and organizations impacted by policies at
         the centre of policy planning, rather than allowing government requirements and
         processes to drive policies and programs.

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              Policy Principles:

              The following principles are fundamental to the A Learning Alberta Policy Framework.
              They reflect commitments to advanced education that must be imbedded and sustained
              throughout all aspects of the policy directions and decisions for the future. These
              principles are: Accessibility, Affordability and Quality.


              Premier Ralph Klein has said he believes that anyone who wants to pursue post-secondary
              education in Alberta should be able to do so. Advanced Education Minister Dave Hancock
              has said that Albertans should be inspired to take advantage of all opportunities to improve
              themselves in whatever ways they want or need.

              Key factors in ensuring access include:

                          • Removing barriers to participation in learning opportunities.

                          • Ensuring easy and responsive transitions into advanced education for
                            underrepresented groups, such as rural populations, Aboriginal people,
                            immigrants, persons with disabilities, and adults with low basic skills.

                          • Policies and programs that meet the needs of non-traditional learners and
                            non-traditional learning.

                          • Strengthening learning opportunities in rural communities by delivering education
                            in new ways.

                          • Defining the role of technology in delivering learning opportunities.

                          • Defining the roles of public and private institutions, community providers and
                            agencies and business in making learning opportunities available and accessible.


              Premier Klein has said that while education isn’t free, it should be affordable.

              Factors that affect affordability include:

                          • The costs that learners face in addition to tuition, such as books, technology,
                            housing, transportation.

                          • The rate and frequency of tuition increases.

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       • The need for financial assistance to be flexible and responsive to learners’

       • Finding the appropriate balance between what individuals pay and what public
         dollars support in providing learning opportunities.

       • Accessibility to educational opportunities outside of urban areas.


A high quality education system meets the needs of learners, society and the economy.

Key factors in ensuring quality include:

       • Curriculum that reflects the changing needs of society and the economy and
         equips learners with relevant skills.
       • Acknowledging that learning and literacy start in families, from a child’s earliest
       • The ability to attract and retain the best faculty to draw the best from our students.
       • A high degree of cooperation and collaboration among the full spectrum of
         learning providers.
       • Ensuring that the technology curriculum meets the changing needs of the
       • Integrating technology into teaching in ways that support learners wherever
         they are.
       • Encouraging centres of excellence in both learning and research that position
         Alberta to be globally competitive.
       • Ensuring that the development and use of facilities and equipment supports
         innovation and excellence.

Policy Foundations:

The following Policy Foundations provide a framework for future policy directions and
program decisions for advanced education in Alberta:

       Innovation and Excellence

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              Characteristics of Learner-Centred Systems

              • Equitable access to learning opportunities is assured for all learners.

              • Learner opportunities respect and respond to learner choice. Programs adapt to the
                needs of learners and society.

              • Learners have access to a wide array of tools (information, technology, counseling) to
                support informed decision-making about programs and career paths.

              • Life-long learning opportunities are acknowledged throughout the system.

              • The diversity of learners is recognized, including underrepresented populations.

              • Supports are in place to ensure learners’ success are effective and readily available.

              • Policies and programs support credential achievement and easy transitions among
                learners’ options (including transitions to and from work, and between basic education
                and post-secondary options).

              • Learning options are affordable and acknowledge the costs and debt levels that learners
                face. Financial assistance is flexible, predictable and responsive to learners needs.

              • Learning systems, programs and ways of delivering learning to students are culturally
                sensitive and responsive.

              Characteristics of Community-Based Learning Opportunities

              • Advanced learning opportunities contribute to the overall quality of life and vibrancy of

              • Policies, programs and practices encourage a community-focused approach to
                advanced learning.

              • Planning for advanced learning is collaborative. It engages multiple sectors and
                stakeholders within and across communities of interest.

              • Communities collaborate in “access to learning” planning that considers the
                contributions of all providers, whether public or private institutions, non-profit or
                community agencies and resource providers.

              • Institutions, schools, community organizations and industry collaborate in the
                development of programs and joint facility use.

              • SuperNet and technology are used effectively to expand access.
                The digital library, digital curricula and eCampus Alberta concepts are broadened.

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• There are ways to acknowledge the costs borne by rural learners when determining
  financial support.

• The role that regional advanced learning providers play in local economic development and
  the development of community capacity is recognized and supported.

Characteristics of a Focus on Innovation and Excellence

• Policy, programs and investment reflect the fact that people are the foundation for
  innovation and creativity and that the generation of knowledge will drive economic success.

• The advanced learning system looks outward and has a strategic international focus.

• Recognition that knowledge transfer and application is growing at a rapid rate.

• Curriculum is relevant for globally competitive graduates/business/industry.

• Tax and other incentives encourage research within the private sector.

• There is an alignment of international education efforts with immigration and economic
  development strategies. Strategic approaches are in place to attract and retain immigrants
  and foreign students to Alberta.

• Technology and equipment are in place to support research.

• Centres of excellence in research and instruction have been developed.

• Attracting and keeping quality researchers and students in Alberta is a priority.

• Applied research within college and technical institutes sector is supported by both the
  private and public sectors.

• There is strategic alignment of resources (facilities, equipment, technology, human
  resources) across multiple partners.

• The strength of a diverse and international student base is recognized in many ways:
  exchange programs, bridging programs for immigrant students and teachers, and supports
  for second languages, integration, settlement and employment.

• Scholarships are a key tool to support the attainment of excellence and the attraction and
  retention of students.

• Everyone involved in the learning system in Alberta understands,
  and is focused on, a shared vision.

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             Policy Outcomes

             Here is a preliminary list of outcomes from A Learning Alberta Policy Framework:

                          • Alberta’s advanced education is world class, and it incorporates global and
                            international perspectives.
                          • Advanced education is viewed as an investment in people and as a benefit to
                          • Advanced education opportunities and methods of delivery are responsive and
                          • Alberta’s advanced education system is community-based, so that communities
                            have the capacity to expand learning opportunities.
                          • All Albertans have equitable advanced learning opportunities and are inspired to
                            achieve their potential.
                          • All Albertans obtain an education that permits them to participate fully in life and
                          • Individuals, families, employers and institutions all have a role to play in advancing
                            learning and see a need to work together to achieve shared goals.
                          • Albertans are knowledge generators and knowledge consumers

             Quality Measures:

                          •   Alberta has strong participation and educational attainment rates.
                          •   Alberta’s ratio of graduate to undergraduate students is improved.
                          •   Alberta leads other provinces in literacy rates.
                          •   Alberta’s capacity to produce its own educators is enhanced.
                          •   Alberta is a leader in sponsored research in the natural/physical sciences as well
                              as social science research.

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Discussion Questions – A Learning Alberta
VISION – A Learning Alberta

What do you think are the most essential components of A Learning Alberta?


Looking at the three fundamental principles:
Are these the right principles to drive future directions and decisions in advanced
What do you think is essential in order to ensure:


Looking at these Policy Foundations:
Are these the right foundations to create A Learning Alberta?
What would you change, delete or add?

What do you think is most necessary to ensure Alberta’s advanced learning system is

What do you think is most necessary to ensure Alberta’s advanced learning system is

Innovation and Excellence
What do you think is most necessary to ensure Alberta’s advanced learning system is
innovative and excellent?


What would you add, change or delete from this preliminary list of Policy Outcomes?
What would you add, change or delete on this list of Quality Measures?


What final thoughts, issues or ideas would you like to provide to
the Steering Committee and the Minister about the future of
advanced learning in Alberta?

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